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Act on housing to save shelter costs: Group

Unless more is done to increase affordable housing in the city of Ottawa, the city’s cost to run emergency shelters is projected to double by 2020, the chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness said yesterday.

Unless more is done to increase affordable housing in the city of Ottawa, the city’s cost to run emergency shelters is projected to double by 2020, the chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness said yesterday.

“Ottawa’s affordable housing crisis is one of the top issues in this election because it’s an essential element of a strong city’s infrastructure,” said Marion Wright. “It’s time to ramp up the affordable housing issue.”

The alliance’s new report, “The Cost of Doing Nothing More Than Current Efforts to End Homelessness,” predicts the city’s 20 per cent share for shelter costs will rise from $3.6 million in 2009 to $7.5 million in 2020.

The alliance is also asking mayoral and council candidates if they intend to act to increase affordable housing by 1,000 units each year and to invest more municipal resources.

The number of units is in accordance with the 10-year targets set by the alliance in order to reach its goal.

“By 2020, voters in Ottawa could have a community where no more than 2,000 families and individuals have to use the shelter system each year because of personal emergencies,” Wright said.